ANDHRA PRADESH

Demonetisation: Boon for temples but bane for vendors, beggars

Beggars seeking alms outside a temple in Ongole.—Photo: Kommuri Srinivas

Beggars seeking alms outside a temple in Ongole.—Photo: Kommuri Srinivas  

Those sitting outside temples are clueless on exchanging old notes as they don’t have any ID cards

The scrapping of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes has come in handy for temples here to mop up more donations from devotees.

But those sitting outside the temples for alms are clueless on exchanging these obsolete notes as they do not have Aadhaar or any other identity cards.

“Whatever little savings we have made are in the form of some higher denomination notes to fall back during health and other emergencies,” say a group of beggars waiting outside the Siva temple at Chennakeshavaswamipet here.

The shopkeepers selling puja material including coconuts and flowers are also in an uneviable position as most of the devotees come with either obsolete Rs. 500 or Rs. 1,000 notes or the newly-introduced Rs. 2,000 notes. “As a result, we are finding it too difficult to do business since Wednesday,” complained a shopkeeper Sridevi outside the Santhapeta Sai Baba temple..

However, some smaller temples have opened the hundi (donation box) to keep ready currency notes of various denominations to satisfy the devotees,who come with high value notes for various temple services like special pujas to Lord Siva on the auspicious Karthika masam.

“We do not disappoint those devotees coming with outdated notes to give donations to the temple,” Krishna Swamy, member of the Devasthanam Board which administers the Ayyappa temple abutting the Rangarayaducheruvu here, says while giving a backdated receipt to a devotee who has chipped in with his contribution for ‘Annadanam’ programme at the temple coinciding with Makaravillaku-Jyothi Sabarimala pilgrim season.

Meanwhile, Ms. Adilakshmi, a beggar sitting outside the Vijayadurga temple, was literally in tears as all that she has as life’s saving is some Rs. 500 notes. “We do not have any bank account or Aadhaar card. The government should come to our rescue,” adds Narasimhan, another beggar unable to reconcile with the Centre’s decision to do away with Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes.

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